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I AM A MAN Plaza opens today
I AM A MAN Plaza opens today
Posted on 04/05/2018
Mayor Jim Strickland today will formally open I AM A MAN Plaza, a cultural installation in Downtown Memphis honoring the City’s sanitation workers whose 1968 strike brought Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to the city.

The plaza’s opening comes exactly 50 years to the day after a march with Dr. King and the sanitation workers was originally scheduled.

I AM A MAN Plaza creates a space that intends to inspire future generations to stand up for social justice and positive change. The Plaza, funded by the City of Memphis and the Plough Foundation and developed in partnership with the UrbanArt Commission, is designed by Cliff Garten Studios in partnership with JPA, Inc.

“For 50 years, the sanitation workers of 1968 have inspired Memphians with their courageous stand for basic human dignity,” Mayor Strickland said. “In the next 50 years and beyond, I AM A MAN Plaza will serve as a permanent place to reflect on their stand and inspire young people to take action.”

I AM A MAN Plaza is located adjacent to Clayborn Temple (280 Hernando Street), which served as a home for sanitation workers during the 1968 strike. It is a large-scale landscape sculpture commissioned to pay tribute to the sanitation workers and the legacy of Dr. King.

Garten’s design features a centrally located bronze and stainless steel sculpture, which will be illuminated at night, that brings the iconic I AM A MAN slogan into the present.

“The entire design of I AM A MAN Plaza is inclusive and participatory,” Garten said. “It was an honor to collaborate with the community of Memphis to create this moving and inviting memorial for the strikers and the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.”

The Plaza’s sponsor, the Plough Foundation, is honored to contribute to the construction of I AM A MAN Plaza as part of its support of the MLK50 commemorative.

“The fact that our founder, Abe Plough, was instrumental in resolving the 1968 sanitation strike makes this memorial contribution particularly meaningful to our Board of Trustees," Executive Director Rick Masson said.  “The legacy that this plaza represents will now be shared with generations to come and to all who visit Memphis.”

Today's event will take place at 11:30 a.m. Follow @MayorMemphis and @CityOfMemphis on Twitter for details.
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